“Experts expect that constantly connected teens and young adults thirst for instant gratification and often make quick, shallow choices,” according to Pew Research Center, cited by Shawn Murphy, so “you’ll need to work hard to get your work noticed for what it is,” he concludes. Characterizing that trait in another way, Marcus Buckingham writes in his foreward to Dan Schawbel’s new book, Promote Yourself, “Gen Y are accustomed to constant, immediate feedback.”
Millennials May Cause The Biggest Shifts in How Organizations Operate
Since so many people are offering strong, often controversial, opinions about Millennials at work it’s a welcome relief to have one of them offering his peers advice about how to get ahead in work that they like, as Schawbel does. In fact he doesn’t pull his punches: “Everything you’ve heard about the millennial generation is wrong. Millennials are the largest, most diverse, most educated generation in American history. Instead of getting frustrated with them, support them as they make positive change in our world.” Yet this book is worth reading for people of any age, because, as Vala Afshar, notes, “40 million Millennials are currently working, and they will comprise 50% of the global workforce by 2020,” and 75% by 2025.
“They’re the first generation to come of age in the mobile era, when even desktop computers are beginning to feel like relics of an earlier time,” Meghan M. Biro points out. “Our world’s future leaders are increasingly viewing business through the lens of social impact,” Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited concluded after completing its Millennial Survey earlier this year, adding “More than half of Millennials surveyed (52 percent) believe business, more than any other area of society, will achieve the greatest impact in solving society’s biggest challenges.”
1. Make Work Meaningful
“The top reason Gen Y employees leave is a lack of career opportunities. If you can’t show them a path up, if you’re not going to mentor and support them, they’re out,” Schawbel told Vivian Giang of Business Insider. Their self-image is as self-starters and risk-takers who can spot opportunities according to a survey Schawbel co-led with oDesk. That self-images sounds like one held by most top talent I know so, and his advice would be apt for employees of any age: “the one thing that is in your control is becoming a go-getter and having the entrepreneur mindset.” As Teresa Amabile found, most employees want meaningful work, and to experience even small signs of progress and recognition more often.
Plus, as Schawbel notes in the chapter, “Turn Your Passion into a New Position,” smart firms are reducing recruiting costs by looking, first, at current employees when new positions open up. Booz Allen Hamilton dubbed their system for doing this “Inside First” and I’m betting that this move also deepened internal relationships and boosted overall performance, and esprit de corps.
2. Hone Much-Needed Expertise
“Gen Y workers have a positive view of their managers, while managers have an overall negative view of their Gen Y employees,” according to Schawbel. One way to prove your worth, in the eyes of upper management, suggests Schawbel, is to, “become your company’s subject-matter expert that they cannot live without.” I would add this. Carve out an area of expertise that can strengthen the company brand in a specific way with one or more key stakeholders. Base that expertise on your strongest talents and interests, and be able to concretely describe it and its benefit to the firm. Earn respect and relationships from inside and outside experts with complementary areas of expertise by citing their ideas and successes, and building on them. Again this is apt advice for employees of all ages. See the rest of the tips at my column on Forbes.